Parque Olhos d'Agua, Brasília: July 21, 2012

Parque Olhos d’Agua is a popular urban park in the Asa Norte neighborhood of Brasília. Protecting approximately 21 hectares of Cerrado scrub and gallery forest, the park is frequented by joggers, kids, and the occasional birder (David Mandell, who guides pelagic trips in Oregon, found a Common Potoo roosting here just last weekend). I stopped by early on Saturday morning to see if I could photograph the Blackish Rails that inhabit the marshy borders of the Lagoa dos Sapos, a cloudy pond that forms the centerpiece of the park. To my surprise, a pair of them came out into the open several times in response to playback, and one even poked around in the grass for a while underneath a fruit feeder.

Perhaps more exciting for me was a small mixed flock that I encountered along the principal walking path that encompasses the park. A beautiful male hooded tanager foraged at eye level while I scrambled to take my camera out of my backpack, failing to adjust the settings to their proper value for the early morning light conditions. I’ve really only seen this bird once in the field, finding it more several times in urban parks in Brasília, where it tends to remain in treetops and difficult to photograph. White-Wedged Piculet and Yellow-Faced Parrot were two other notable finds on this short but productive excursion to a new locale just a few miles from where I live.

Notable birds seen: Buff-Necked Ibis, Blackish Rail, Yellow-Faced Parrot, White-Wedged Piculet, Common Tody-Flycatcher, Yellow-Olive Flatbill, Buff-Breasted Wren, Masked Gnatcatcher, Hooded Tanager, Burnished-Buff Tanager, Sayaca Tanager, White-Lined Tanager.

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